The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced May 13 that Sunland Park in Sunland Park, N.M., has received provisional accreditation by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility.
After a lengthy certification process, including a 48-page written application and an in-depth, on-site review, Sunland Park was found to be in compliance with the majority of standards set forth in the Alliance code. The Alliance withheld full accreditation of the New Mexico racetrack, however, pending further upgrades in the specific areas of pre-race veterinary inspections; uniform medication regulations; safety equipment and cushioned riding crops; testing for alkalinizing substances; and independent security assessment and training.
Provisional racetrack accreditation is granted when a facility substantially meets the majority of provisions contained in the Alliance code of standards, and when the Alliance has reason to believe the track will be in compliance with the remaining standards within a reasonable period of time. Once all standards have been satisfied, a racetrack may be awarded full Alliance accreditation.
“We anticipate that several areas in question will be addressed very quickly by Sunland Park, while others will take longer due to necessary regulatory changes,” said Mike Ziegler, executive director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, in a statement. Ziegler was part of the Sunland Park inspection team along with veterinarian Jennifer Durenberger, and racing official Richard Lewis. “We trust the state of New Mexico will work closely with Sunland Park so that it may achieve a higher degree of uniformity with other tracks that have received full accreditation.”
Sunland Park now becomes the second racing facility to receive provisional accreditation by the Alliance and the 18th to receive either full or provisional accreditation.
Churchill Downs and Keeneland were accredited in April 2009; Belmont Park received accreditation in May 2009; Delaware Park and Hollywood Park were accredited last June; Monmouth Park was accredited in July; Arlington Park and Saratoga Race Course received accreditation in August; Calder Race Course, Turfway Park, and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club were accredited in September; Oak Tree at Santa Anita/Santa Anita Park received accreditation in October; Fair Grounds and Aqueduct were accredited in December; Golden Gate Fields was accredited last February; Woodbine received accreditation in March; and Pimlico was granted full accreditation earlier this month after receiving provisional accreditation in May 2009.
Tommy G. Thompson, former Governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, serves as independent monitor of the Alliance and will provide public reports on Alliance progress in instituting safety and integrity standards.